Fentanyl Drug Facts


What is Fentanyl (Duragesic) and how is it used?

Fentanyl, administered in the Duragesic Patch, is a powerful narcotic painkiller for serious pain. It is generally only prescribed for long-lasting relief from intense, persistent and chronic pain. The Duragesic patch should only be used when less potent medicines have proved ineffective and pain needs to be controlled 24/7.

Duragesic is available in 4 color-coded patch strengths: 25 mg, 50 mg, 75 mg, and 100 mcg/hour. As with all pure opioid agonists, there is no analgesic ceiling effect with fentanyl, thus there are no dose-limiting adverse effects, and dosages can be gradually increased until adequate pain relief is achieved.

Duragesic patches are a transdermal system providing 72 hours of continuous systemic delivery of this potent opioid analgesic.

Duragesic should never be used in the following situations:

  • Where the right dosage hasn’t been established in advance – for instance, after an operation or an accident.
  • For mild or intermittent pain that responds to other medications.
  • In children under 12 or teenagers who weigh less than 110 pounds.

What are the side effects of Duragesic?

Typical side effects of Duragesic therapy include abdominal pain, anxiety, confusion, constipation, depression, diarrhea, dizziness, dry mouth, euphoria, hallucinations, headache, impaired or interrupted breathing, indigestion, itching, anorexia, nausea, agitation, shortness of breath, sleepiness, sweating, urinary retention, vomiting, and weakness.

What are the symptoms of Duragesic overdose?

Users are susceptible to an overdose if they take too much transdermal fentanyl, or combine it with excessive amounts of another narcotic. An overdose can cause severe breathing problems (breathing may even stop), unconsciousness, and death. Serious signs of an overdose include very slow breathing and drowsiness so severe the person is unresponsive. Other signs of an overdose include cold, clammy skin; low blood pressure; pinpoint pupils of eyes; and slow heartbeat. If this occurs, get emergency help right away.

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